Aslimbegim Manzarshoeva | Institute for War and Peace Reporting
I was born in the Shugnansky district of the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region of Tajikistan. I left secondary school in 1989 and entered the journalism faculty of the Tajik State University. I graduated in 1995, one year later than I was supposed to because of the civil war that ran from 1992 to 1997.
My mother is a housewife and my father is a driver.
I entered journalism in 1988 when I took a gap year before starting my studies. One of the requirements for the journalism faculty was to have a portfolio of published articles so I worked for year for a regional newspaper, Badakhshon, and for a district newspaper.
At school, I entered competitions on knowledge of the Russian language and I always won. I was good at writing stories. I liked to read Russian and foreign literature. All this helped me to get a place in the journalism faculty but ability in journalism is something one acquires gradually.
When I was at school I dreamed of becoming a construction engineer but my mother thought this was not a job for a girl. Then, one day, right before the school final exams, a journalist visited our school to interview the head. We asked our teacher who she was and she told us she was a journalist who was well known in the region.
Afterwards, we saw her article about our school with the picture of our head in the newspaper Badakhson. It was probably the visit of this journalist with a microphone in her hand that inspired me to want to enter the profession.
I heard about IWPR for the first time in 2004 when I was working for the state news agency Hovar.
Having been used to the traditions of Soviet journalism, it was interesting to learn how to write a western-style news analysis. My former colleague from Hovar, Lola Olimova, the current IWPR Tajik editor, began to commission articles from me.
My first article was entitled Tajikistan: Teenage Girls Dropping Out of School. Other subjects have included the media, politics, religion and industry.
I especially like meeting new, interesting people, particularly experts, people who have expertise in their own field and their own views. Meeting and talking to them makes one look at things in a different way.
Every publication has its own style and I find IWPR’s attractive. Of course, when you write for a publication for the first time there are difficulties but it gets easier. IWPR training has helped. The courses are always interesting and useful and always allow me to discover something new.
It is a good feeling to know that what you do interests people and that they read your articles. Each report is dear to me in its own way because they require so much effort, work and time. It makes me feel good when a report has helped someone.
I really enjoy journalism. It is thanks to my profession that I know so many people and have been able to visit many countries, to meet new people, and experience different cultures. Journalism is a constant search for something new and interesting. This profession gives me an opportunity to be up-to date with the news. Apart from everything else, it is my means of earning a living.